On Facebook

Confession: I can’t figure out how to do Facebook.

I don’t mean the technical side. I have that part figured out. I mean, I can’t figure out the proverbial “sweet spot” of posting and interacting on Facebook.

I’ve been back on the dreaded network for a month. A month today, actually. And I still hate it.

I’ve tried to figure out what I should post. I didn’t want to post a lot of controversial things, but as I mentioned in my last post, I did manage to stumble into a controversial topic without entirely meaning to. I mean, I knew it would stir up a hornet’s nest, but I posted it anyway. I didn’t change any minds, and all I managed to do was give myself a racing heart and a stomachache.

Thing is, I have a wide enough range of friends that almost anything I post is bound to offend or irritate someone. Politics are going to irritate my liberal friends. Religious things are going to irritate my non-religious friends. Both could potentially alienate business associates. Art-related posts will probably alienate or offend my Christian friends, because I read all kinds of subversive literature.

So I should probably stay away from anything that requires . . . you know . . . an opinion.

That guideline eliminates a lot of things.

I can post about books, but there again, I’m certain I’ll have my more religious friends in agony over my soul due to my rather eclectic and seditious taste in literature. I allow myself a fairly wide latitude in reading material for a variety of reasons, but then, I don’t tend to find most reading material particularly troublesome. In other words, most of what I read hasn’t caused me to stumble, and when it has, I’ve quit reading it.

But I do worry about what other people think if they see that I’m reading something unapproved.

I can post about business things, but I don’t really feel like an expert in much of anything. I share the occasional article about business writing or marketing or something I find intriguing, but most seem to be just adding to the noise of Facebook, judging by the lack of response to the posts.

I can post about writing. I have posted about writing. I’ve shared writing-related articles, even, especially in the last few days. Some really good things (mostly related to writing fiction) have come across my feed, and I’ve shared them for the sake of those friends I have who write fiction.

But I feel profoundly uncomfortable sharing these things.

There’s a sense in which I’ve crossed into the Teach Zone–“those who can’t, teach.” I’m no longer a doer. I’m a watcher, at least when it comes to fiction writing. And I can’t shake this sensation that by sharing “how to write better” articles, I’m really just standing on the sidelines shouting at people who are better and more dedicated writers than I am.

So writing articles are out.

I refuse to share personal things anymore. I just can’t. I can’t let these shoestring acquaintances have that much insight into my life. I know Facebook is supposed to be a more personal medium, but when I share personal things, I only end up feeling exposed and anxious. Even using a status update to share that it was my wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago felt too intrusive.

I could post about knitting, but I’m not doing much of that right now. I could post about gardening, but I don’t really know what I’m doing in that realm, and I feel weird about sharing it.

I could post the kinds of mommy updates my friends post. I could tell everyone that I’m just sooo tired because I supervised homework, did a bunch of yardwork, made dinner, baked cookies for school lunches this week, and spent some time reading a marketing book, but . . . really? I mean, then I’m just adding to the Facebook comparison monster that always makes me feel so crappy. And what I’m NOT telling people is that my counters are covered in junk, my kids bickered for most of the evening, the light in the kids’ bathroom still needs fixing, half the groceries I got the other day still aren’t put away, and there’s always something sticky on my foot when I come out of the kitchen.

What am I left with for status updates?


Fortunately, there’s no shortage of quotes to be had. Goodreads is always ready to spit out a good one. I always find it rather interesting who “likes” which quotes. A quote from Beverly Cleary gets “likes” from all the fun moms. A quote from Thomas Jefferson gets “likes” from all the patriots. A quote from J. K. Rowling gets . . . well, it’s a rather odd assortment, but I can only assume they are mostly fans of Harry Potter.

Somehow, the idea of being on Facebook just to share inspirational, interesting, or informative quotes seems like a bit of overkill. Why am I even there? My friends can find these quotes themselves. If they want more from me, I’m not sure they’ll be getting it anytime soon.

I don’t know. Maybe I just haven’t found a good stride yet.

But if I don’t find one soon, I’m outta there again.

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